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About Andy


I am an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. My photographic safaris allow my travelers to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa ‘s beauty and culture.

Banana Republic recently used my photographs as the cornerstone of their Urban Safari campaign, and my images were seen in all 750 stores around the globe, as well as in their billboards, catalogs and annual report. I was also the winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the ‘Wild Places’ category in 2008 and a highly commended in the ‘Creative Visions of Nature’ category in 2007.

I launched Gura Gear in 2008, in an attempt to deliver lightweight camera bags to the market. I was looking for a lightweight camera bag to hold all of my photographic gear, and there was nothing desirable on the market that suited my needs. After spending 2 years with many prototypes, the Gura Gear Kiboko bag was born. More products are now available on the Gura Gear web site.




« Photo of the Day - Elephants in the Okavango | Main | Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ is now available! »

Photo of the Day - Elephant in the Savute Channel


Elephant in the Savute Channel

Linyanti Concession, near Savuti Camp, Botswana. July 2011

Nikon D3x, 28-300mm, 1/2000 @ f/5.6, ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Nik Viveza 2


This was a very tricky image to process, I must say. I was shooting with my Nikon D3x that afternoon, and the camera isn’t well known for its high ISO capabilities. I needed to keep the ISO down, possibly 1600 or lower, but the main challenge was trying to balance blowing out the details in the sky with the deep shadows of my subject. I could only minimally process this image in Lightroom, and the bulk of the work was done in Nik Software’s Viveza 2. In Lightroom I only adjusted the white balance, exposure, black point and a small gradient on the sky. I brought the image into Photoshop as a smart object, which allowed me to go back to the original raw file to tweak some of those settings. In Viveza 2 I worked on tonal relationships, and the main thing I needed to work on was the exposure on the elephant. There was simply no way of getting detail in the sky with enough exposure on the elephant, at least from a global processing point of view. Viveza saves the day.

Tip: If you are interested in learning more about Nik Software’s tools, you can use my code ABIGGS during checkout for a 15% discount.

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Reader Comments (6)

I love that pic Andy. I totally understand the technical issues with post-processing that image. However, I am finding that my eyes go straight to the section of super-bright, blown-out sky above the elephant when I first see the image. Is there anyway to tone down the exposure of that section? Maybe post-process the RAW file twice and do some blending? Or use Viveza's U-point selection tool to slightly darken that blown-out sky section? Otherwise, I am just not finding it naturally easy to focus on the elephant. Thanks for reading.

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Chan

Thanks for your thoughts, Andrew. Please notice that the image is already processed with Viveza with many control points. Any more points and the image breaks down and looks completely fake. Even though I can technically do what you suggest, I haven't seen the image work out the way I would want it to. It is just a creative thing.

October 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterAndy Biggs

I completely understand. I guess the old film days of a Singh-Ray "Galen Rowell" graduated ND filter might have helped tone down that sky assuming the line could be sufficiently hidden. I do have to say that I enjoy using Nik's U-point technology in Nikon "Crapture" NX2 to fix unintended dark areas in an otherwise well exposed image. I have shot a fair number of kids soccer images with the sun backlighting the action and thus the player faces are too dark. Though not perfect, at least I was able to recover some detail without the image looking too fake.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Chan

Theroblem is when a neutral density filter, digital or with glass, gets near the horizon. The horizon is actually brighter than the sky, and I don't like the unnatural look of anything other than what I have processed with this image. This is a creative decision, not a lack of understanding the tools available.

October 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterAndy Biggs

Andy, This is a great shot. Your processing skills are to be admired. Good stuff!

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Great shot, Mr. Andy! Savute is indeed a great place to go game viewing and to see some elephants. Thanks for sharing this pic!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeraldine

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